October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Norton by Symantec, known for its antivirus software and cyber security products, and Grey San Francisco have teamed up to raise awareness and address the issue with a new campaign.
The campaign encourages parents to discuss cyberbullying – bullying messages sent through text, social media or other electronic communication – with their children, since 27 per cent of US parents felt their children were more likely to be bullied online than in the classroom, according to the 2015 Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report. Cyberbullying comes in several forms – mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles – and can happen any time of day, meaning that parents may be unaware.
"Cyberbullying has become prevalent in schools today, but it doesn't stop there – it is affecting our children 24/7, and as a mother of two daughters, I am acutely aware of the magnitude of this issue," said Kathryn Kane, senior director-global brand and campaigns, Norton by Symantec.
A film, "Raise Your Voice Against Cyberbullying," is at the center of the campaign. Sparked by a creative concept developed by Grey San Francisco and brought to life with Chelsea House and filmmaker, Peyton Wilson, the film aims to inspire parents to help their children address cyberbullying and overcome its effects. It features raw accounts of real cyberbullying attacks told from the victims' points of view and breaks the silence of cyberbullying as parents hear of the attacks for the first time. It starts with a startling statistic: “Millions of children around the world are cyberbullied every year; 9 out of 10 who experience it never tell an adult.”
One set of parents tells their heartbreaking tale of their son, who never spoke up about his cyberbullying and ended up taking his own life because of the unrelenting pressure.
At the film's conclusion, the audience is asked to continue the conversation on social media through #RaiseOurVoices wherever cyberbullying is encountered.
"Norton by Symantec is the world's leading consumer cyber security brand, and we want to use our leadership position to not only shed light on these very real and culturally-relevant topics, but also present people with solutions and a way to affect change. Inspiring parents to raise their voices is a simple solution that can have a massive impact," Kane said.
Aside from the film, Norton created an e-book to offer parents an authentic look at cyberbullying. It features illustrations created by children ages 11 to 18 who have personally experienced cyberbullying, as well as tips to help parents recognize the signs and a conversation guide to help parents start a related conversation with their children.
Anti-bullying organizations, including PACER and Common Sense Media, are working with Norton to activate #RaiseOurVoices wherever kids go online. Norton is also actively engaging with victims and parents on social platforms to encourage them to raise their voices via video, pictures or text.
"Norton security solutions have protected people and their devices for decades," said Milan Martin, president at Grey San Francisco. "The old saying, 'sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me,' tragically, just isn't true today. We couldn't be more proud to help Norton address very real, very important issues in our world today."
The Norton site also features additional online safety resources, including how to teach kids about cyberbullying, how kids can avoid online scams, and “netiquette” for parents.